Post-Wedding Depression is Real

When I first became engaged to my husband, I ordered all the wedding books, researched, and meticulously planned until I ended up in the ER with nerve damage. I was also pulled in all sorts of directions by my in-laws and family, who paid for the event. My planning season was an emotional rollercoaster, but I loved the planning part. I designed so many things and perused so many websites I can now call myself a wedding connoiseur.

After my wedding, in the 12 hour timeslot before I left for my honeymoon, I felt despair. I didn’t get exactly what I wanted. I didn’t even have a real wedding dress, but a white prom dress, because of low funds due to my medical situation. During this time I had become obese, and I felt I was no longer beautiful. I dreamt of being beautiful on my wedding day. Instead, I had a pixie haircut, a round face, acne and pale skin. There was, also, well, my new walking stick. During my planning season I had gone from abled to disabled.

The honeymoon provided another high, but immediately after coming home things turned south. Why didn’t I get to be gorgeous on my wedding day? Why had my husband never told me he thought I was beautiful during the wedding? Where was the romance? And most importantly, why couldn’t I walk on my own?

Growing up I was the little girl who played wedding in diapers. I was the ultimate wedding dreamer. But the bubble popped and here I was, married, unemployed and disabled. I was going to grad school in the fall after having to drop out due to developing lupus three days before my wedding. I felt worthless as a housewife.

When COVID hit I had a giant brain worm: a wedding planner for disabled couples. I wrote about 100 pages of it in two weeks, then fleshed it out with interviews from the community.

In trying to cope with the post-wedding blues, I turned back to weddings (one of my favorite things) to try to help people. It works best when I’m coming hard at it on the weekends or discussing it with my professors, who have taken an interest in the book.

The beauty, purpose, and creativity involved in weddings lit my brain up like a live wire. To see it POOF out of thin air, after its most important culmination, drove me to writing more seriously. I wrote about fashion, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and my experiences as a newly disabled wife facing an unknown world.

If you found this because you’re feeling guilt about the post-wedding blues, you aren’t alone. You’ve definitely got a friend in me.

Wedding Planning For Spoonies: Getting Back on the Horse

Watercolor painting of red roses with two bells above a rainbow wash and two spoons, one in a blue bow tie and one in a wedding dress holding hands. The text reads "wedding planning for spoonies by Meara Mullen"

Special thanks to @KarenDScotland and @AManWithFibro who made this iteration of the book possible.

I am on iteration 4 of the book. Right now I am awaiting the official MS notes from my editor. But she did send me some more notes in an email. Right now my job is to:

  • Beef up word count (sitting around 20,000 words which is a bit short after gutting the book)
  • Make the book more hopeful and peppier

The book’s job is to serve:

  • the mobility impaired (meaning wheelchair users, cane users, walker users, anything that helps you move, etc)
  • those who suffer from chronic pain
  • those who have chronic illness (this is a huge range – and includes those with epilepsy)

I’ve taken a break for a week or two from writing because of various stressors in life and I’m going to take advantage of a calm day of chaos to get back in the saddle again. Thank you to those who have helped me with my interviews and surveys, you are invaluable and amazing.

If you should wish to contribute to the project, email me at spoonielifestyle@gmail.com. The more research the better!

Wedding Planning For Spoonies: Now With Actual Spoons! 🥄

It’s time for book talk! I’m back to almost 20,000 words after getting the book down to 16,000. That’s quite a feat for a week. And now I have this adorable cover!

It probably is a bit cisgender – but I wanted the rainbow background for a reason. Please give me some #feedback for fun!

For those who don’t know, this is a wedding planning book for the chronically ill and disabled that covers LGBTQ+ as well as cisgender weddings.

Wedding Planning for Spoonies: Inspiration & tips for the chronically ill and disabled

My wedding planning book is going through a few iterations right now. I hope to still work with my editor after doing something really really stupid (in a pain flare I should never email people at night). The plan is to focus on mobility aid users and the chronically ill. It casts a wide net. There are many conditions specifically included, but a few from the categories can be chosen to apply to someone whose condition is not specifically listed.

I’m a bit nervous about the rewrite as it’s a blow to my ego, but I have to remember the point is to help people.

I do think this book could be a game changer if I work hard enough on it.

I’d also appreciate comments on whether or not excluding sight and hearing still makes the book marketable, and how much you like the new title.

If you’re interested in helping, email me at spoonielifestyle@gmail.com.

The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner: Even New Directions

I am back in the saddle again with my book, The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, and I’m telling you, it’s gonna be a long road.

The book’s purpose is to help disabled and chronically ill individuals plan their weddings, but I’m not entirely sure it’s doing that right now. I’m talking to one agent who hasn’t gotten back to me yet after submitting my manuscript, and I nervously await the next steps.

Additionally, or not additionally rather, the book has been slashed a bit. It no longer covers as wide a net of disabilities as I had once liked to. Now it only covers mobility, chronic illness, and chronic pain, which when you think about it is pretty huge. There are lots of chronic illnesses and chronic pain conditions out there, and lots of varying degrees of mobility.

I have lots lots lots of research to do, and if you’d like to help, email me.

2 Traditionally Bridal Things I Didn’t Care About As A Chronically Ill Bride

Bride with sequin shoes. sign overlay 2 Traditionally Bridal Things I didn't care about as a chronically ill bride spoonielifestyle.com

When I was engaged to my husband, I was in the process of being diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia. During what should have been my time of joy, I was ridiculously sick. Therefore my wedding, although I tended to it the best I could, did not have all the typical girl-things most brides obsess about.

To most women, your wedding day is your most beautiful day – and that means your physical self. I had some radical self-acceptance when it came to my appearance. There were just some things I couldn’t control, some things I had no energy to control, and some things I knew would pain me to control to the point where the gain wasn’t worth the cost.

I wondered if other chronically ill brides had similar experiences, so I wrote this short listicle.

1. Losing weight

At the time I was a vegan, swimming for 2 hours each day, and doing 45 minutes of yoga. By the time the month of my wedding had rolled around I had astronomically gained weight from pain meds. I was also bed bound and couldn’t walk like I used to. When you’ve gone from standing unassisted to needing a cane, you’re gonna nope out of doing crash dieting, binging, and sacrificing your hate-selfies to the weight loss gods. I bought WalMart spandex to get into my dress and got on with my life.

After the wedding, almost immediately after the honeymoon, I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism after about six months of looking for it. Chuckee darn, y’all, I could’ve guessed that!

Now Pinterest and any other god awful website (I’m looking at you, Instagram) shows me body shaming, hateful things that I wish I knew how to tell the website to block, because back when I was thin I didn’t have these problems. I wonder if it’s looking at me through the camera and going, “Oh, look, a fat girl. We have to make her hate herself so she’ll use the site more.” Kinda like the time Pinterest kept sending me suicide notes while I was starting therapy. Who writes these algorithms? Yeah, I don’t know either. I only use Pinterest to pin Chronic Illness Business stuff.

In all, I gave up on sweating for the wedding, because I couldn’t move. I don’t regret it. During the time I still had a gentle yoga workout regimen, but the cards weren’t in my hands.

2. Having perfect skin

I was super stressed out and so sick I couldn’t communicate to my doctors I didn’t deem essential. For my doctors I deemed essential, such as my rheumatologist and neurologist, I would create PowerPoints on my tablet. When it came time to talk, I would pass the tablet over to them. So when it came time to see the derm, I didn’t create one. I figured he’d look at my skin and be done with it.

Unfortunately I was expected to talk at the derm, and I was not coherent due to the pain I was in. I remember the smirk on the doctor’s face. Not to mention when I was prescribed an acne cream, I couldn’t remember to use it due to brain fog and constantly being on the go with doctor’s appointments sometimes at 8AM. I lived 45 minutes out from the city.

During this time, I was also watched for developing a lupus rash, which the derm didn’t seem to understand, and proceeded to tell me what allergy shots were and how they worked like I was in 5th grade.

Are you a fellow spoonie bride?

Don’t worry. You’re still going to be beautiful whether you labored over your appearance for months or years or not. You should be yourself on your wedding day. Whatever form that is, just is. Nobody owes the world a physical beauty that is strictly theirs to keep, not even on their wedding day. Sometimes we are all forced to be who we are. If you fall in that boat, don’t worry.

A Disabled Body is an “Every Body”

I love my beta readers. Without them The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner would not exist. Most of them are my family, so I owe them my life. However, I struggle with my beta readers from an ideological standpoint. This is something very real.

Before the book changed its name and content, my beta readers were great. They still are great, but with much crappery.

When the book transitioned to The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner, things changed between me and my beta readers. I told my beta readers I wanted to include men, they responded men weren’t to do any wedding planning. Then, when I said I wanted to include genderqueer people, they responded with, “But they already have wedding books. Everything is already about them. You see them everywhere.”

Them. Them should be a curse word, unless you’re referring to gender-neutral pronouns.

We live in an Us vs. Them world, where many people see themselves as an US, while everyone else is a THEM. Thems are subhuman, immoral, and undeserving of what US have. Us are kind, intelligent, noble, moral, and good. Us deserves their rights and protection.

Ultimately, Us does not understand Them.

There is a way to be a Them on multiple levels, an Us on multiple levels, or partially an Us and partially a Them. This is called intersectionality – the blend of a person’s social identities that either brings them a cocktail of power and/or submission.

For queer disabled folx, they have many blends of social identities that make them a big ol’ THEM to the white, cisgender, Christian folks that have been volunteering to read my book.

Not everyone like that THEMS folx, but a few do. I hope with my book, the thems of the world are exposed as US to somebody – a lot of somebodies – and eventually everyone.

Good day.

If you are a good person, hit me up in the comments. Please help me with my project. Please please please. Even if you aren’t queer, if you have chronic illness or a disability, this project can help you. This book is a traditional wedding planner for everybody – and I mean every BODY. A disabled body is an every BODY. People never realize it, but in the blink of an eye, the progression of age, anyone and everyone eventually becomes disabled. Just think of your 80 year old grandma, or how I went to athletic and active to occasionally using a mobility aid and unable to walk my dog.

A disabled body is an every BODY, so the book includes everybody.

Conducting Research: THE DISABILITY-FRIENDLY WEDDING PLANNER

The whole point of The Differently Abled Bride Guide is to help people. I want to help people by letting them know they are not alone, provide practical advice and inspiration, and ultimately show the world we exist. We are here, we are loved, and need to be treated fairly.

While I’ve been promoting and asking for research for grooms, a kind fellow member of the Chronic Illness Network informed me that Differently Abled is a slur. When I was in University, before I became disabled, I learned that Differently Abled was how to refer to a disabled person.

I admit that I grapple with the term disabled, as I assume many do, which led to the original title of the book. Usually I rejected the term because of able-bodied friends throwing shade at me or they could not believe that the high achieving, hyperactive, goal-oriented girl who wanted to save the world couldn’t go to the grocery store without a mobility aid because…. she had some Whiner McBabypants fake disease like fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia weren’t “supposed to have this problem.” I had something else, it was my husband, I should be a better vegan… You know, I’m sure, if you’re reading this, how it goes.

Honestly I wanted to be able to catch those with invisible disabilities who didn’t have the image of disabled in their heads in this book as they are covered as well. The book also covers wheelchair users, paraplegia, the blind, the Deaf, and other classically-thought-of nomenclatures of disability.

The project is renamed The Disability-Friendly Wedding Planner and will cover brides, grooms, and non-binary folx who are disabled. I need people to interview, so please consider contributing to the project.

If you would like to help my project, email me or comment on this blog.

Self-Encouragement

I’m not looking for feedback but I feel this is the classiest one, as the watercolor accessibility symbol is gone.

In the past, I was an art student studying graphic design. It was my dream to create beautiful things for others. But then I dated some jerk who told me I was too fragile to spend time in the studio without him, and I switched to the liberal arts.

It was the greatest regret of my life. I vowed that I would never let anyone or anything keep me from achieving my goals.

As some of you may know, I’m in the process of being published. I will be talking about this a lot for more than one reason, namely because it’s an emotional rollercoaster, and anyone who reads this blog knows I am pure emotion. I am 100% F in the INFP.

My post yesterday revealed the staggering amount of rejections I received in a month as well as someone attempting to con me. I’m not giving up, but I do need self-encouragement on my journey.

A weird thing I like to do is go back to my art roots and design dummy covers. Every morning I design about 6 and choose one to three that I like best. I choose my favorite to be my wallpaper on my phone and computer, and the grand slam of the week is printed out and taped to my desk. It helps me imagine a book on the shelf.

I have a creative vision of what the book will look like: delicate, cute watercolors. Because the book covers so many different types of conditions, I wanted a classy way to be inclusive. No bodies will be represented with images. No mobility aid depicted in a pictorial form. Just symbolic representations of what it means to traipse along the wedding planning process in a whimsical way. The book is full of whimsy.

The book needs to communicate that the differently abled, disabled, and chronically ill are people who are loved. People love us. The world needs to know that.

And with my pep talk, I hope you are looking forward to the weekend, and have a happy Thursday.

Not Giving Up

NOT a novel

When I first shared my covers on Twitter, there seemed to be some confusion about “the brides different ability.” This discouraged me a bit about my communication skills. I think this is partially because I am keeping this project a little bit under wraps.

The Differently Abled Bride Guide is a wedding planner book for women with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Differently Abled is the PC term for those conditions, as either of those groups can define themselves as disabled, not disabled, or differently abled.

I am trying to create a one-stop wedding planning resource for women with conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to paraplegia and everything in between. This is why I have been conducting so much research. I want accurate and inoffensive information.

Yesterday, I had some discouragement. I was approached by a publisher who asked me for $20,000 dollars to publish my book.

I’ve never even spent that much on a car. That is a fancy car to me.

This came immediately after my favorite publisher rejected me. So far I have 12 rejections in a month.

I know what I am doing is risky and out of the ordinary. My friends were so encouraging. But I’ll stick to it.

Don’t give up y’all. Some day we’re all gonna change the world. We’re gonna help people.